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Basic Operational Engineering

Jerry R. Bergeson, Basic Oil and Gas Technology for Lawyers and Landmen (1979)


The culmination of the surface and subsurface interpretations performed by the geologists and geophysicist is the drilling of a borehole. The only method to test (and if successful produce) potentially hydrocarbon bearing formations is to mechanically drill a hole to the predetermined objective.

A borehole, like other industrial endeavors, undergoes engineering design, logistical planning, and budgeting before the project is begun. The borehole can be considered the product of a mobile manufacturing plant; the plant consisting of the drilling rig and the associated peripheral and support groups.

Through the years, drilling has become an engineering discipline in and unto itself. Current drilling practices are fairly sophisticated but they are all based on simple concepts. This discussion will concern itself with the basic practices utilized while drilling a borehole. As a necessary consequence of this, the various drilling rig components and well bore components will also be discussed.

The drilling rig is the nucleus of the drilling operation. Figure 1 is a schematic drawing of a drilling rig. The drilling rig provides a means for:

1.Raising and lowering of equipment in and out of the wellbore.

2.Applying torsional force to the drill bit.

3.Circulating drilling fluid.

4.Controlling the influx